Over the past few years, it’s become increasingly harder to get people’s attention. On Facebook, in particular, we’ve found that organic reach for pages has dropped over the first six months of 2017. This is partly due to algorithm changes, and partly due to the response from brands trying to increase their exposure, publishing more, and creating more competition for the eyes that are on the news feed.
Facebook groups are a great solution to this decrease in organic reach. They create engagement and community that pages simply can’t. The nature of a Facebook group is far more interactive and multi-dimensional, whereas pages can seem a bit flat and one-sided.
A Facebook group is also a major way to gain traffic to your website. Posts to your page or personal wall will often go unnoticed due to Facebook algorithms, but each member of a group receives a notification if there’s a new post. This drives traffic to the group and can drive traffic to your website when you share a link to your blog. Of course, these types of notifications can be turned off, but if you’re offering great content and personal interaction with your group, it’s likely they won’t be.
There are three main things you can do to ensure your Facebook group starts out on the right foot and attracts the potential customers you’re looking for.
- Be crystal clear on what type of group you want to have. There are three types of Facebook groups in terms of privacy – open, closed, and secret. Open groups are just that – anyone can see who is in the group, anyone can see the posts, and anyone can join. With a closed group, anyone can see the group and who is in it, but only members can view the content in the group. With a secret group, no one but a member of the group can see that the group exists, or see who I in the group and the group posts. In essence, with a secret group, you need an invite to join, or you won’t even know it’s there.
- Once you’re sure what type of Facebook group you want, set up specific criteria for deciding on who gets approved into the group. Figure out who your ideal client is – all the demographics and details – and accept members accordingly. This will increase your group’s integrity and exclusivity.
- Create and adhere to a content calendar for your group. Decide on the questions, polls, photos, and events you’ll be posting about. Have a list of post ideas that you can refer to if you get stuck for content ideas. Have lots of ideas for group participation, and that’ll help increase your engagement within the group.
Creating Your Facebook Group
So you want to create a Facebook group! Great! Let’s get started, and you’ll soon have your Facebook group up and running smoothly, and be able to grow and expand your group and your following.
The first thing you’ll do is log in to your Facebook account. Click the down arrow on the right side of the menu bar at the top, and choose “Create Group.” Enter the necessary information about your group that the page asks for – and remember to use a name that described what your group is about to make it easier for new members to find it when they use the Facebook search function.
At this point, it will help you if you take a moment to add the group to your “favorites.” That way, the group name will show up in your left sidebar near the top, and you’ll have easy access to it without having to search for it each time you want to visit the group or post.
Set your group privacy to “Closed.” This will create a feeling of exclusivity within your group because not just anyone can get in. It will also enable you to monitor who is added to the group, to make sure they’re a good fit. Remember that there are over a billion daily users of Facebook, and it’s a given that some of them are spammers who will try to gain access to your group.
You also want people to have to join the group to see the content – another reason to choose a closed group rather than a public group.
Now, add at least one friend. This is necessary to start your group, so pick a person who you think will be interested and let them know you’re adding them to the group ahead of time. No one likes to be added to groups without their permission, so don’t do that.
Now you can begin customizing your group page by adding a description of the group and adding any rules you have that you want everyone to be aware of. Choose a group icon from those shown, and then find an image that is related to your group’s topic. For free photos to use, you can look at Pixabay.com, where you’ll find thousands of beautiful graphics. You’ll use this image as your group cover photo.
Your group is just about complete! The last thing you need to do is go to “Edit Group Settings” and add a few tags that describe the group content and what it’s all about. This will make finding your group much easier.
Now that your group has been created, you can work on promoting it and gaining members!